Best Flashlights Reviewed and Rated
Even with cell phones having built in flashlight controls, actual flashlights are king when it comes to lighting up an area. Whether full sized or in a special travel size, the new age of LED’s has changed how the market reacts to portability, lumens, battery power and even design. There are a lot of options available for users that want a starter kit or a pack of multiple flashlights in one. The variety is staggering, and the best part of all is that they are all low priced. It is the one thing the industry has adapted as one, and it has helped to propel some lesser known companies to the front of the pack.
Our Top 3 Picks
There are no dominant brands in flashlights, although there are a couple of standouts. Even if you mention big names like DeWalt, when it comes to flashlights there is still no clear winner. Big companies are about equal with the smaller companies in features, innovation and pricing. Because there are no standout brands, this can be confusing for customers that are shopping for flashlights. With other products you could stay loyal to a brand and purchase what they offer. But even if a company has built up brand loyalty, flashlights offers so many more choices than any other product on the market. This is one of the few times where putting brand loyalty aside is recommended in order to get the best product.
Maintenance and Cleaning Tips
Other than cleaning the lens, flashlights really don’t need any special cleaning methods. With that said, they lose a lot of their usefulness if the lens becomes dirty or not well maintained. And worse of all, if it gets cracked, they are much less effective. On the upside, LED models rarely have issues with their bulbs going out and are rated to last a lifetime if treated properly. So light dusting off with a microfiber towel will do the trick if it accumulates some dust, but nothing major is needed like a full tear down. The only other important maintenance tip is to never leave batteries in the device for extended periods of time without turning it on. If you go months without turning on the device while the batter is in, you risk leakage, battery degradation and other common energy woes.
10 Best Flashlights
1. Rockbirds RB-7W
Beyond the default two pack, there is a four pack and a six pack available for purchase. That makes it a great item for families or groups that need multiple flashlights.
Features and Specifications
• Aluminum alloy casing
• Water resistant and skid-proof
And the most surprising thing about this product is that it is low priced. That is a great value buy for the best flashlight on the list.
Even if it isn’t a purchase for multiple people, this is a great deal for the average consumer. It is a long lasting flashlight that is small, reliable and easy to adjust.
Comes in 2, 4 and 6 packs
Easy to adjust the light focus
Works better with Li-ion batteries
2. J5 Tactical V1-PRO
Needing only a single AA battery to run, this is the most power efficient choice on the list. And for users that want a long-term solution, it is compatible with the 14500 rechargeable battery.
Features and Specification
• Comes in five different colors
• Can light up to 600 feet
There is good value with this flashlight since it handles batteries well. With this model, you won’t have to worry about eating through multiple batteries every couple of weeks.
Thousands of customers have sung their praises about this flashlight, so it isn’t just hunters that love it. The price is low, and there aren’t many other choices that can beat it in a head to head comparison.
Only needs a single battery
Built in clip is too tight
3. Mizoo XML-T6
A flashlight that is dependable can’t do its job if the power isn’t there. The high grade rechargeable lithium batteries and charger is the best of the best when it comes to reliability.
Features and Specifications
• Includes flashlight, case, batteries and charger
• 1000 Lumens
Count this as another one of those great deals for a kit, and another one that stays in the low price range. It has a great build that will last a lot longer than the other variants put in kits.
Flashlight kits keep getting better as the industry fine tunes what it includes in the package. As Mizoo has shown, you can have a great flashlight and a great kit, all in one combo.
Best rechargeable batteries on the list
Hardened aluminum alloy body
Batteries can be a pain to switch
4. PeakPlus PPLEDKIT1
There are a lot of things included in the kit; an 18650 rechargeable battery, flashlight case and a AAA battery holder. It’s everything a user would want in a new flashlight kit.
Features and Specifications
• Skid proof, water resistant and anti-abrasive
• Five light modes
For a low price users can get the entire kit, which is a tremendous value. In that regard it is in a league of its own, and is the perfect flashlight for an emergency.
If the actual flashlight had a better quality body, it could possibly be the best on the list. Currently it sits at a healthy #4, and is still a tremendous value for any consumer.
Great starter kit
High quality carrying case
Plastic metal body
5. CVLIFE 118-T6
This is one of the most powerful flashlights in a size this small. By using specialized LED’s, this flashlight really lives up to the hype when it needs to illuminate an area.
Features and Specifications
• Beam travels up to 700 feet
• Aluminum alloy construction
Sporting a low price, consider this another great value in a long list of flashlight products. Even if the battery is a little flaky, it is easy and cheap to replace.
For a power flashlight that can be whipped out at a moment’s notice, this Cvlife product is an adequate choice. It’s bright, lightweight and has a great feel to the overall construction.
Built in safety battery
Weighs only 6.88 ounces
Included 18650 Battery is hit or miss
6. Hausbell HB-7W-SDT
With 300 Lumens to play with, there is no need to go to a larger flashlight. This little portable monster can handle any flashlight related tasks just fine.
Features and Specifications
• Available in 3 different models
• Built in zoom feature
This is a really low cost purchase, no matter which model you choose. The value of the buy will depend on if you need any of the modes that are missing from the main bundle.
Bright lights with a lot of horsepower can come in small packages, and this product proves it. This is a great flashlight to use if you want a lot of light without carrying a full-sized product.
Small and rugged
Super bright light
Less modes than some of the other flashlights
7. Streamlight 66118
When it comes to portability, this product blows every other out of the water. It is the size of a pen but functions with the full power of a flashlight.
Features and Specifications
• IPX4 water resistant
• 6.5 hour usage time
This is one of the highest priced items on the list, but still low price. The value is great, but keep in mind that the #10 item can be purchased for less and contains four flashlights.
This is a minimalists dream, and the holster makes it a handy tool for professionals that need a quick light. It may not be as powerful, but it makes up for its lack of lumens with convenience.
Comes in 6 different colors
Includes two AAA batteries
Only 90 lumens
8. LuxPower Tactical V1000
The Tactical V1000 is shock, water and weather resistant. It’s the toughest flashlight on the list, and will handle more than its share of bumps and drops.
Features and Specifications
• Comes in a pack of 2
• 5 operating modes
Any product that is this durable will always have a high value with customers. The price is low, and with it coming in a pack of two, the deal really stands out.
Bright and with multiple operating modes, this dual flashlight kit is a great buy. With a strong body that was built for punishment, there is nowhere this flashlight can’t go.
Can fit in a regular pocket
Super bright LED
Switching modes is a hassle
9. YIFENG XML-T6
They didn’t just create useless light modes, and instead loaded it up with modes that customers would actually use. You can choose from strobe, high, middle, low and SOS.
Features and Specifications
• Adjustable focus
• Skid proof and water resistant
Whether you purchase the single pack or the double pack, the price is low. For such a small handheld flashlight, it has a lot of useful light features that worker in home and outside situations.
Other than not including batteries, this is a really good deal that competes with similar products on the list. It is a high quality choice for a flashlight that should cover most of your needs.
Can use a single rechargeable Li-on battery of 3 AAA batteries
Illuminates large areas
No batteries included
10. BYB E-0429
You can’t beat the value of four flashlights in one package, especially when they are good value. This is a strong selling point for customers that need a flashlight in their car, home, office and garage.
Features and Specifications
• 150 Lumens
• High, low and strobe modes
This is a really good value at a low price, and that isn’t even accounting for the quantity in this one pack. Buyers will get a lot of use out of these flashlights for a long time.
There are better choices on the list for customers that need more power in their flashlight. But as a set, this is one of the better deals available on the list.
Option of different exterior colors
Impact and water resistant
There are more powerful flashlights on the list
Our research went far beyond looking at lumens when deciding which flashlight was the best. Measuring the flashlights on lumens wouldn’t exactly describe their brightness levels or the quality of the light. To handle the issue of light quality, we looked at multiple things to determine how to rank the products. Beyond that, it was an issue of batteries, extras and durability.
The first thing we rated the flashlights on was light quality, which was based off of a smaller ranking of multiple subset specifications. Lumens, watts and area of the environment the light was able to reach were the determining factors with this criteria. Surprisingly, all of the flashlights that were equipped with compatible batteries passed this test with flying colors. This has a lot to do with LED as an innovation with light, and it just proves how rock solid the technology is across the board. In order to gain some separation with all of the choices when handling this criteria, we did side by side comparisons of specifications and paired them with the actual visual data. This was the root of our list, or at the very least the starting point.
Batteries were up next, as we measured how long they lasted with each product at the highest settings. Power draw with most of the flashlights on the list was above average, with a couple of standouts showing that they remained bright even when the battery was running low. This was the most important battery usage feature to us, as the auto-dim option when on low battery is more of a pain than it is a helper. Products that used every ounce of the battery even when it was on its last legs gained significant spots on the list. The only other battery test we ran had to do with how fast the rechargeable batteries reached full capacity. This only affected a small portion of the list, and was insignificant enough that not a lot of spots changed.
Extras & Durability
The last two things we looked at was related to extras and durability, both very important in the buying process. For extras, kits and packs were giving priority over the regular flashlights on the list. That explains why the top flashlight on the list is sold in packs, and it also points to the multiple starter kits on the list. They were a better value from the start, and all without increasing the already low price for the flashlights that were available without kits or packs. We also considered flashlight modes to be part of the extras group, which dropped a considerable amount of choices off of the list as they lacked simple strobe and high/low options. Durability was based on resistance, as there were a lot of choices that had water, scratch and slip resistance out of the box. The slip resistance was a feature we valued more than water since all of the choices on the list are small/portable in size. We still didn’t ignore the importance of water resistance with the flashlights on the list, and adjusted the list accordingly. This also caused the most choices on the list to be dropped off, as they lacked the durability to be considered a valuable buy. All of the remaining products on the top ten are considered to be tough enough to handle drops and bad weather.
Flashlight Maintenance Tips
If you have ever pulled out your flashlight when you have an emergency only to discover that it doesn’t work, you probably understand the need to keep your light well maintained and in good working order. Keeping your flashlight in good working order also ensures that you get the value you deserve from a product you have paid your hard earned cash for. The flashlight maintenance tips suggested below will help you lengthen the lifetime of your light.
Maintenance Involves Use
A common mistake that many people make is to think that maintaining a flashlight involves the things you do after using it. When using the flashlight, especially the small ones, never use your mouth to hold it. This could get moisture into the flashlight and moisture is an enemy of your light.
If it happens that you are not able to use one of your hands to hold the flashlight, you can always ask someone to help you. If you are unable to ask someone to help, you would rather resort to a headlamp. Some flashlights also come with clips.
Dealing with Moisture
There is always moisture in the air. This makes it inevitable that there will be moisture sometimes on your flashlight. If you suspect that there is any moisture on any part of your flashlight, ensure that you dry it at the earliest chance you get.
Many people argue that the light they have is water-resistant. Water resistance means that you can use the light in wet conditions but it does not mean you should literally keep it in water, which is in essence what you are doing if you do not deliberately get rid of the moisture on your light at the earliest possible moment.
Clean Off All the Dirt
Moisture is not the only thing you need to worry about when it comes to the maintenance of your flashlight. As you continue to use it, it accumulates dirt which you also need to clean. Leaving the dirt to accumulate over time makes it difficult to clean the light. A dirty light is difficult to hold when using it too. Dirty spaces can provide a good breeding ground for bacteria that could end up making you ill.
Cleaning Your Light
The materials you use to clean your light depend on the material from which it is made. If the material is durable, you can always use a heavy duty cleaning material. However, always ensure that the substance you use will not end up ruining the material from which the light casing is made. Refer to your light’s handbook, it should tell you which substances are safe for cleaning your light. There are a number of online resources that you can also turn to for this information.
Questions are often asked on whether you should store your flashlight with its batteries connected. The answer lies on how often you are planning to use the flashlight. If you use it frequently, then it is okay to leave the batteries inside. However, ensure that you test the batteries every time after you use your light.
If you do not use the flashlight too often, then you will need to keep the batteries out of the compartment. If you see any signs of corrosion on your flashlight battery compartment, then there is a possibility that there is battery leakage. This means that you should change the battery.
An area which is often neglected is the threading on the flashlight. Threads can be checked at six months intervals. The threads could include the big ones such as the ones you find in the battery cap or the ones on small screws. All these can accumulate rust over time and then become impossible to remove when you need to.
Wipe the threads with a thin layer of lubrication before you put the screws back. Ensure that you clean the lubrication on the body of the light itself as the lubrication can interfere with your grip.
Good storage for your flashlight will help you to preserve it and keep it in good working order. Make sure that the case where your flashlight is stored is dry and cool. Do not only worry about keeping the flashlight itself clean because if the case is not properly maintained it will deteriorate over time and will not be able to keep your flashlight safe.
Avoid high temperatures as they have the effect of quickening deterioration of the flashlight. One of the problems you will start to experience if you store your flashlight in high temperatures is leakage of the battery.
Even if the temperature is not high, ensure that the flashlight is not stored in direct sunlight. Most people who keep their flashlights in motor vehicles generally keep them on the dashboard. This exposes the light to direct sunlight and in turn its integrity.
There are a number of other things you will need to consider with regards to the maintenance of your light such as always checking the overall condition of the light. This will involve looking for all the cracks and damages whether on the body, the wires or the glass.
It is also important to ensure that the bulb itself is clean and in good working order. Dirt and grime can accumulate on the bulb and overtime get heated. It is a good idea to keep a spare bulb so that you do not need to make that expensive trip to the shop when you are on a hunting escapade.
What Are Lumens?
Simply put, high lumens usually means a brighter flashlight. Some judge by watts, but the easier way to go about it is to look at the lumens of a flashlight if you want to judge its brightness. Now where it gets complicated is by not factoring in watts when looking at lumens. Watts measure energy use while lumens measures light output. So technically a high lumen flashlight with low watts won’t really be as bright as you expect it to be. Finding a balance between the two will really help determine the real brightness of a flashlight, and it will also keep you from being surprised after a purchase.
Is Smaller Better?
There is nothing wrong with heavy duty flashlights, yet consumers shouldn’t ignore the advances in technology of their smaller variants. When comparing cost between the two, the value of the smaller flashlights will always win out. They are all low priced, and most of all they are used in emergency situations just as much as casual situations. Major features that were exclusive to bigger flashlights have now been done better by the smaller versions, with a lot of companies adding in their own special touches where necessary. The other pro of the smaller versions is better battery cost and usage, in both short and long term ownership.
How Does A Low Battery Affect The Flashlight?
A low battery can cause low brightness levels even when you have the flashlight set to maximum. This is a big deal for a lot of people since every flashlight has its own mechanism that kicks in this low power mode. On some cheaper batteries, the brightness of the flashlight will be effected even when there is adequate charge in the battery. Sticking to recommended one use and rechargeable brands can combat this issue, but it will also depend heavily on the model of the flashlight. A bad model might not be able to fully utilize a good battery. So even a high lumen flashlight can be a bit dim if the internal mechanisms are cheap and not capable of steady power draw from the battery.
What’s So Great About LED?
The many benefits of LED technology start with their cost efficiency. That is why LED flashlights are cheaper than regular bulbs in price, yet have a higher quality light. They are also lightweight and last longer than a regular bulb, with evolving technology that keeps improving every year. So technically, the price of LED flashlights will stay the same or continue to drop while the technology thrives each year. Their small form factor also makes them ideal to carry in your pocket, glove box or any other storable area without adding extra bulk. All of the qualities needed for a powerful light are available when you move forward with LED technology.
Are Flashlight Ratings Important?
No, and that is due to there being no widespread industry standard. So if a brand labels their flashlight as being the brightest available based on anything other than lumens+watts, then it is nothing more than marketing. Brands often overstate their brightness ratings to attract new customers while pairing them with unrelated infatuated numbers. Advanced users even go beyond lumens+watts and use Calibrated Integration Sphere to get the most accurate rating of brightness. Customers can use either one of these methods to get a good understand of what the flashlight can do. But remember, the same LED technology is available to every single brand in the industry. No one company has a special LED that outclasses another company’s.
Should You Only Purchase Flashlights With Rechargeable Options?
Some flashlights can eat away at even good brand name batteries, so having rechargeable options ready can be a lifesaver. Not all companies include rechargeable batteries with their flashlights, so make sure to check what’s included before purchasing. Specialized rechargeable batteries for flashlights are easy to find, and will usually be CR123 or 18650. There are others that come shipped with the package, but their quality will vary. Rechargeable batteries lose their power over time, yet they still are a better option since they keep you from having to buy brand new batteries. And if you go through regular one time batteries a lot, having rechargeable batteries can save you a lot of money per year.
Are Flashlight Kits Worth It?
Flashlight starting kits are an increasingly enticing value even to owners of flashlights. They usually include a carrying case and extra batteries. There are a lot of cost savings upfront for this type of package, and there is also a lot of value in it for customers that travel a lot. The case keeps everything related to the flashlight in one place until it’s ready for use, while the rechargeable batteries keep you from having to splurge on expensive brand names throughout the life of the product. And the best part about these kits is that they aren’t that much more expensive than just buying a flashlight by itself.
Is There A Benefit To Buying A Pack Of Flashlights?
Yes, and not only for families or camping groups. Having flashlights strategically around the house is a great way to get through a power outage or heavy storm. It’s also a safer option than keeping candles and matches handy, while allowing for much more freedom of movement in and outside of the house. With that being said, there are a lot of groups that purchase it for camping trips rather than buying single units for each member. Just like flashlight starter kits, the price isn’t that much different from the base product and well worth investing in. With a lot of companies expanding the amount they pack together, the value of a flashlight pack continues to grow.
Is It Safe To Mix Batteries?
Mixing battery brands is never a good idea, and can even cause major injury. In a worst case scenario, mixed batteries can explode due to their differences. And even when it isn’t that drastic, there are a lot of small issues that could creep up and make it not worth your while. Mixed batteries aren’t fully utilized to their fullest potential in any product, and with a flashlight that means the light will be dimmer that what it should be. Getting the correct setup with your batteries is vital to getting the most potential out of your flashlight, so try to stay away from mixing batteries.
How Does An LED Flashlight Compare To A Phone’s Software Flashlight?
It can be tempting to use the LED flashlight built into new age smartphones since they are so handy. Brands have even begun to assign a quick button for the flashlight feature to smartphones. But where handheld flashlights win is with their modes like strobe, SOS, and the ability to change the brightness. Smartphones have one set brightness, and even with their larger batteries are prone to burning through them faster than regular flashlights. Buyers also run the risk of damaging their LED flash on their smartphones if they leave it on too long, a risk that isn’t there when you use a handheld flashlight.
How To Make The Best Decision
While lumens are important, you shouldn’t take lightly how valuable it is to have a tough body on the flashlight. The design will decide just how tough it is in real world conditions, which could make the difference between a product that last a couple of months, and one that lasts a lifetime. Modern flashlights use LED’s, so expect for the bulbs to be the last thing you have to worry about. There is nothing wrong with not wanting to get an LED flashlight, but be aware that it also means maintenance will be higher. Battery type and usage is something else that should be prioritized, with many options in the industry offering single use and rechargeable options.